Dambulla Maligathenna ( Nuwaragala Kanda) Ruins – නුවරගල කන්ද (මාලිගාතැන්න) නටබුණ්
There are number of locations called Nuwaragala Kanda (Nuwaragalakanda, Nuwaragalkanda) and the most well known location is Nuwaragala Kanda is Ampara District. But this Nuwaragala Kanda is location between Dambulla and Polonnaruwa district and lies midst of a thick jungle.
According to folklore there is an ancient palace complex spread in a area called Maligathenna of about 40 acres. This palace is believed be built by King Mahasen (276-303 AD). These ruins were first discovered and documented in 1884 by then the Governor of Matale but no research or excavations have been done on these ruins other than by treasure hunters.
This palace is believed be built by King Mahasen (276-303 AD) as a sub palace which has been used while he was constructing most of the irrigation tanks in the area. It is also believed to be the adobe Queen Sugaladevi who fought the Parakramabahu the Great in 12th century. However these are possibly ruins of an long forgotten ancient Buddhist monastery.
Nuwaragalkanda archaeological site is located about 16 km east of the city of Dambulla, in a low mountain range which runs north-south through the Nuwaragalkanda area. Large and small buildings and irrigation facilities are built along a dried up stream between the main vein and the branch ridge. GPS measurements are at latitude 07 degrees 50 minutes 12 seconds north and longitude 80 degrees 48 minutes 00 seconds east at reservoir A. The ruins of Bisokotuwa (point G) lies at the latitude 07 degrees 51 minutes 42 seconds north and longitude 80 degrees 47 minutes 35 seconds east.
Most of these ruins lie in the elephant infested thick jungles never explored except by treasure hunters. A detailed report written in Japanese language of these ruined sites has been published by an Japanese archaeology team who had visited these sites in 2011. The information below is based on this report;
The archaeological remains of G and F are located beside farmland The ruins south of F should be approached through the jungle. After about 60m, a swamp will appear, so if you are heading for E, go east away from the swamp and climb the open rock belt. From A to D, go south along the river for a while to reach the area with B to D. To A, follow the stream on the east side of the area and proceed for 500m.
This archaeological site is distributed over a wide area of 900m east-west x 3000m north-south. Perhaps because of this, as mentioned above, on the CCF (Central Cultural Fund) refers ruins around A-F as “Padhanagala Ruins“. But here the whole will be collectively referred to as the “Nuwaragalkanda archaeological site“. The explored area consists of ruins of about 10 buildings including the temple. From the shape of the wedge holes in on the rocks prepared to be split, it can be estimated that this site dates back to about the 8th century (before the middle of the Anuradapura dynasty). In addition, the decoration of the earthenware piece found at point F is a linear pattern consisting of many narrow grooves, and no design are seen on the moonstones and guardstones.
Of the traces of building investigated, B to D are on small terraces, and there are slight traces of stairs between B and D, and traces of roads extending in the direction of B in D. Therefore it can be confirmed that B and D were connected. In addition, near D, you can see the remains of an artificial pond for bathing, and there are many traces of a reservoir (Wewa) around the ruins. There are indications of 2 reservoirs with bisokotuwas found at A and G. The reservoirs which bisokotuwa G belongs to has been completely taken over by the jungle.
Ruins of a Bisokotuwa of a small reservoir at the site. The reservoir is completely destroyed but still retains some water like a pond. Parts of the dam can be seen scatted in places. About 20 m down from the pond, and traces of weir across the stream can be seen on both banks. Huge collapsed stones are scattered abundantly on the riverbed. The stones are of different in thickness, but they were all vertically long, with the largest being 136 x 47 x 45 cm. Estimating from the width of the river swamp and the height of both banks, it can be assumed that the height of the weir was about 5 m and the width was about 15 m.
Buildings at Site B
This cluster of buildings lie north of the Bisokotuwa A spread along 4 terraces. There are ruins of 5 buildings and 3 stone stairways. A deep pit in the center of the building B3 indicate that this site too has not escaped the destruction of treasure hunters. Close to this pit lies a large stone slab measuring 115 x 81 x 18 cm in size. Few more are found held buried at different places. These are possibly floor boards of the building.
Buildings at Site C
Remains of 3 rectangular buildings are seen on the two-tiered terrace at this location. The terrace is built by building a retaining wall on the southeast side below the slope. The southeastern side of the upper terrace is about 40 m long, and it is built by stacking three steps of 115 x 20 x 30 cm cut stones from the lower terrace, and there is an entrance staircase in the center. One building is clearly a Bodhighara with the pit for the Bodhi at the center
Buildings at Site D
The ruins discovered at this location consists of 3 buildings built on a 2 tiered platform. Retaining walls of the platform has been built with blocks of rock. The southeastern side of the upper terrace is about 40 m long, and it is built by stacking three steps of 115 x 20 x 30 cm cut stones from the lower platform and there is an entrance staircase in the center. The entrance stairs to the upper terrace are composed of 7 stone steps with a width of 140 cm, width of 28 cm, and a height of 19 cm. The building on the southern side of the entrance is about 10×4 meters in size. The building on the northern side is small, about 4×4 meters in size. There are two stone steps with a width of 110cm, a width of 23cm, and a height of 17cm. The balustrade of this stone staircase and a stone that seems to have been a guard stone were scattered around.
The central building is about 18m x 13m the largest of the three.
E : Terrace on the Naked Rock
On the slope of the open rock belt, a row of stones extends from northeast to southwest in the shape of a retaining wall. At the end of the stone row, shallow holes of about 3 cm, which were dug directly in the ground, were dug 2 x 2 vertically and horizontally at intervals of 50 cm. A large number of stone fragments were piled up in one place above the stone row. It’s unclear if what would have been here before destruction.
F : Stone Pillars
Natural stones are lined up in a row to divide the outer shell of 8 x 8 m, and 16 stone pillars stand inside in the form of 4 x 4 in an orderly manner. The distance between each stone pillar was about 2.5 m, and the largest stone pillar was 175 cm high and 37 x 21 cm in cross section. The shape is reminiscent of the remains of Uposatha, but it cannot be confirmed. In addition, pottery pieces and iron ore with linear patterns were scattered inside and outside the site.
G : Ruins of a Bisokotuwa
This bisokotuwa is approximately 230 x 350 cm in length and width and approximately 160 cm deep. The stones used are all about 30 to 50 cm wide, but the lengths are different and the longest is 200 cm. The thickness varies from 13 cm to 50 cm. The reservoir which this bisokotuwa belonged to has vanished with time. (Photo 16-35 / 16-36)
- Okamura, T., 2015. RUINS IN CENTRAL EASTERN AREA OF SRI LANKA — at the jungle of Amban Ganga Basin and the outskirts —. Tokyo: South Asian
Map of Maligathenna ( Nuwaragala Kanda) Ruins
The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites
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To reach the Nuwaragala Kanda ruins you need to go past Wewala (වෑවල). Wewala can be reached from Inamaluwa through Sigiriya (B162) or from Dambulla on the Kandalama Road (B615). The motorable road ends after about 2.5 km passing the the Wewala Reservoir. Thereafter you will need to hike about 2 km in to the thick jungle infested with wild animals including elephants to reach the site. Since there is no path, a guide from a nearby town will be required to locate the site.
Distance from Dambulla or Inamaluwa to the site approx 25 km. Distance from Sigiriya is approx 15 km.